EOPCA’s video statements to Governor Newsom telling him to keep his word to transition to 100% renewable energy — set the date to 2035 and stop CA from being one of America’s top crude oil producer

EOPCA held a press conference with Meghan Sahli-Wells former Culver City Mayor, and current Council-member, as well as Elected Officials to Protect California Co-Chair. Oxnard Mayor Pro Tem Carmen Ramirez, Esq, EOPCA Steering Committee Member.San Luis Obispo Mayor and EOPCA Steering Committee Member Heidi Harmon and Oakland City Council Member Dan Kalb, at 10 am on September 23.

We recognize that many of the press couldn’t attend our ZOOM conference as they were waiting for Governor Newsom’s announcement at 10:30. We recorded the event and welcome them to attend now, by viewing it on YouTube.

Here is the full press conference on YouTube:

The information in the press conference and all their statements are current, as we haven’t changed our stance on insisting Governor Newson take action now on specific areas to mitigate climate change.

A Mayor, a Mayor Pro Tem and former mayor (current Councilmember) and a Councilman, deserve the respect to be heard as they are taking actions in their respective communities to fight this climate emergency. Please take a look.

Elected Officials to Protect California believe it is imperative for the safety of state and nation to implement faster results than his executive order prescribed. Results that include phasing outfossil fuel production in the state immediately with deadlines.“The people that over 315 of us represent, are the same people Governor Newsom represents. They need him to act now — before the flames of climate change can’t be contained. This fire season, and the pandemic are clear results of humans disrupting the environment — it’s time our governor took real action. When is he going to see he’s fueling the fires that have caused this climate emergency?” asked Meghan Sahli-Wells former Culver City Mayor, and current Council Member, Elected Officials to Protect California Co-Chair. “I’m proud to serve as Co-Chair of Elected Officials to Protect California, we’re standing up for our communities, for all Californians. With one stroke of the pen, issuing a state of emergency for the climate crisis, the governor could begin to phase out all fossil fuel production — to match the urgency of the climate crisis we are living in.”Under Newsom’s executive order, every new passenger car and truck sold in the state has to be electric by 2035. Still, the order does not prevent Californians from owning gas-powered cars, selling used cars with internal-combustion engines or buying them outside the state.

“We applaud Governor Newson for his leadership on electric vehicles. It is a needed step to move us into a prosperous clean energy economy. However, allowing permits to extract the dirtiest oil in the U.S. is fueling the fires of climate change,” said Elected Officials to Protect California President, former Marine veteran and State Legislator Alex Cornell du Houx. “We cannot protect our health, and prosperity without phasing out fossil fuel extraction. Let’s lead the world and sign executive actions that remove this blight on our health and California’s leadership.”

The governor said, “ We need to punch above our weight. We have the power.”

We’re saying show it.

The state approved drilling permits for more than 1,400 new oil and gas wells in the first half of 2020, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, and since April, 48 fracking permits were issued. Governor Newsom promised during the press conference to phase out fracking, but taking it to the legislature next year is not taking responsibility. This year the legislature debated the safety buffer – setback law – but watered down the issue turning it into a study and that ultimately didn’t pass.

EOPCA worries the governor is passing the buck and no action will be taken.

Paraphrasing the governor, he said, “We don’t need to drill, to extract things, for our vehicles.”

EOPCA understands his effort to lessen the demand for gas at the pumps, but that isn’t a responsible plan to phase out oil and gas drilling or stop the state from refining oil from outside sources. It’s a tactic that is not comprehensive enough.

Dirty tar sand crude oil is shipped into the state from Canada to be refined here. On the journey here there have been notable spills, and the refinery process has proven deadly to communities that live near the refineries.

California is still one of America’s largest crude oil producers, which is the dirtiest oilin the United States. ANRDC analysisof oil and gas development in California shows that approximately 5.4 million people of the state’s population live within a mile of one of more than 84,000 existing oil and gas wells — many suffer from lifelong illnesses like asthma and cancer because of their proximity. Over12,000 Californians die from this pollution annually.

“For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe,” said Newsom in announcing the executive order. “You deserve to have a car that doesn’t give your kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse — and create more days filled with smoky air.”

While EOPCA agrees we think his remarks neglect people living next to refineries, oil and gas wells and fracking operations. Everyday, those people suffer from dirty air pollution while living under the threat of a spill. These refineries are largely located in communities of color furthering systemic racism and environmental injustice.

California is the nation’s top third refinery. Not all the oil refined in California comes from the state. Refineries that accept tar sands crude oil from Canada pollute. Refining tar sands poses serious health threats. These include increased levels of highly toxic fugitive emissions; heavy emissions of particulate, metals, and benzene; higher risk of refinery accidents; and the accumulation of petroleum coke (a coal-like, dusty byproduct of heavy oil refining linked to severe respiratory impacts).

According to the National Resource Defense Council, California’s 17 operating oil refineries currently process1.9 million barrels of tar sands crude oil per day. Many California refineries have the capacity to process much larger volumes of heavy tar sands crude. Based on analysis by the Borealis Centre, the amount of tar sands refined in California could grow by 650,000 bpd by 2040. If this occurs, communities like Richmond, Martinez, Rodeo, Benecia, Wilmington, and Long Beach will be forced to confront the harmful effects of increased tar sands refining. California has eight operating crude oil terminals that accept delivery via train and there have been leaks. In the coming years it is anticipated that Canada will send tankers and barges loaded with this tar sands crude to San Francisco Bay or the Los Angeles area.

“If you care about your kids and your grandkids, if you care about disadvantaged communities, if you care about seniors, if you care about rural communities, if you care about inner city communities that have been underserved by our fossil fuel economy, then you care about the core construct that we are advancing here in this executive order,” said Newsom.

EOPCA does care deeply and we believe the governor does as well. We understand the governor’s core construct but it’s not enough to mitigate the climate crisis. Our elected officials have instituted real solutions in their communities. We urge you to listen to the video to find out more.

Even though the governor publicly stated, “we’re in a climate emergency.” He has not answered our call to declare a state of emergency for the climate crisis which would give him broader powers to take immediate action. If he would like to use his executive powers to enact our demands, then he should.

EOPCA encourages you to watch our press conference and please use quotes from our elected officials in the video. They are working tirelessly to help mitigate the effects of climate change and protect their citizens.

Elected Officials to Protect California is a project of the Elected Officials to Protect America.

The mission of EOPA: To create a safe, prosperous, and healthy planet, we empower leadership from elected officials and civic leaders to protect our environment, and fight the climate crisis. As current and former elected officials who care deeply about protecting our planet and people from the dangers of climate change, EOPA educates through value-based storytelling, trains lawmakers, and connects elected officials to inspire strong environmental policy. Lawmakers who are veterans and elected officials lead our mission.


September 24, 2020


Contact: Alexander Cornell du Houx, President of Elected Officials to Protect California Cell: 207.319.4511